06/28/14 — Cornhole state championships held in Goldsboro

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Cornhole state championships held in Goldsboro

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on June 28, 2014 10:39 PM

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Melissa Key

Pro-level player Chris Duke of Oxford goes for a shot against Joseph Rohrer of Raleigh during the singles round at the North Carolina State Championships of Cornhole on Saturday afternoon. The event was held by the American Cornhole Organization at the Goldsboro Family YMCA.

Most people know it as a game you play in college with a beer in hand -- but for others cornhole is a hobby they play with a passion.

The Goldsboro YMCA hosted the North Carolina State Championships of Cornhole on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the event was ran by the American Cornhole Organization.

"Goldsboro Parks and Rec has been awesome to work with," said Michael Byrd of the ACO. "We have a great venue here and this is a great event."

While cornhole can easily be written off as simply chucking a bean bag at a wooden board with a hole cut into it, there is technique involved in order to be successful at a game. Players toss the bag towards the board with an underhand motion, flicking their wrist outward at the final moments of the throw to give the bag a clockwise spin, a better flight and a greater chance of sliding into the hole when the bag hits the board.

"You have to follow through, just like darts," said Michael Naylor, who was participating in the championships and began playing three years ago. "If you watch, they're releasing the bag and following through with their palm up."

Naylor was first introduced to cornhole when he was at a bar and fell in love immediately.

"There's the competition factor," he said. "It's low energy and you get to compete against a wide variety of people, young and old, tall and short and all skill levels. I'm playing today because I wanted to see how I could do. There are some highly ranked guys in the nation here."

Cornhole boards measure 24 inches by 48 inches, and are elevated 12 inches off the ground at an angle. The hole is six inches in diameter, and the bags used are six inches by six inches. The bags are made of two durable, fabric squares and weigh 15 to 16 ounces.

Eight bags of two different colors are used to play. The scoring of the game can be complicated to someone who has never played.

The game is played to 21 points, and the first to reach or exceed 21 points is declared the winner. Points are scored two different ways: woody, which refers to any bag that stays on the board after it is thrown, and cornhole, which refers to any bag that goes through the hole in the board. Each woody is one point, while a cornhole is two points. But cancellation scoring is used, which means a player's points can be cancelled out by their opponent's points. This way, only one player or team can score per frame.

But, if you're looking to simply play cornhole and not worry about the points, grab a beer and a cornhole set and get to it.

"After I first played it I went to another bar and they had it outside," Naylor said. "It's a lot of fun. It's a great way to meet people."